I was in a 5th grade classroom this week and overheard two girls talking, “Why you wearing that hoodie anyway? It ain’t cold. You just hidin’.”
The weight of her words hit me hard. Don’t we do the same thing?
We hide our wrinkled, imperfect faces with concealer and powder. We cover our gray roots with color from a bottle. We wear sunglasses to hide the heavy bags under our weary eyes. We close our mouths in pictures, ashamed of our crooked smiles.
We wear long coats to cover the panty lines and baggier pants to hide our figures. We stretch our t-shirts so they won’t hug too close or we wear clothes that look bigger so no one will see our bones. We hide our hair under a hat on a bad hair day and we wear closed toe shoes to cover our less than perfect feet.
But the hiding doesn’t stop with our appearance; no, that’s just the beginning. See, we hide in a crowded room by disappearing. We hide our broken hearts by putting on our “life of the party” hat. We hide ourselves in our jobs so we don’t have to face the real us. We busy ourselves in the lives of our children and live through them but never live for us.
We mask our pain with the bitter lies of insecurity and we believe that we will never be enough. We put on our happy face in public when just below the surface is a flood of emotions that we are too embarrassed to release. We hide in shame for fear of rejection from our friends and families. We hide in our addiction to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, exercise and excess. We run away from life because it just seems to be too hard.
All that we want to do is put on that hoodie and hide from the world. We think it’s safe in there. We don’t have to answer to anyone. We don’t have to try to fit in because nobody sees us. We can keep our lies, secrets, shame, fears, rejection, and heartache bottled up in that safe hoodie.
But when we wear that hoodie, we are alone. We are trapped with all of the things that we don’t want anyone else to know about us. We begin to believe the lies that no one will ever love or want us if they really knew us. We play the tape over and over again that convinces us that there is no hope. We believe that God messed up when he created us and that if he cared he would just take away all of the pain. We pull away instead of reaching out. We blame instead of seeking answers. We use our words to cut instead of build up. We trust our emotions instead of trusting in God. We hide. And when we hide, we die.
We have to stop believing the lies. We have to stop playing those old tapes over and over again. We have to remind ourselves that we are valuable, loved, and cared for by a mighty God who sent his only Son to die just for us. We have to realize that we are not the only people who are hurting in this world and sometimes when we get the courage to say we are hurting, other “hoodie hiders” are free to share, too. God created us in his image, the image of Light, and he created us to live life in communion with others. 1 John 1:5-7 says, “This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him. If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth – we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.” We can’t hide and be in the Light at the same time. But look at the last verse, “we also experience a shared life with one another,” and we can’t do that with our hoodies on!
So when life hits hard and all you want to do is hide- take off your hoodie. When insecurity is screaming lies that you feel are true and it’s hard to even believe an ounce of truth- take off your hoodie. And when you’re ashamed, afraid or beating yourself up for past mistakes- take off your hoodie!
Because after all, “It ain’t cold. You just hidin’.”